Friday, August 19, 2011

Telephone Pictionary. . .

I haven’t finished organizing my garage yet, but I have a good excuse! Every box I sort through has something in it that distracts me, sometimes for hours. Many of these boxes are full of wonderful memories! That’s a good enough excuse for making slow progress, isn’t it? Sorting through mementos of fun times? That was the case yesterday.

Inside one of the moving boxes I opened was a smaller box containing a large collection 100’s of pieces of paper. I picked one up and smiled—the Telephone Pictionary papers! (Have you ever played that game? Directions are below.) As I flipped through the papers, I began to laugh out loud. And I laughed and laughed remembering all of those long, fun hours my gang would play this game.

I showed the Telephone Pictionary papers to Aaron, and he laughed, too. When I told him I might post a few sets on my blog, he said, “But no one will have any idea how great the atmosphere and spirit was when we played those games. It was so much fun!”

I do understand what Aaron means. Everything clicked together so well to make those Telephone Pictionary sessions special that I’m not sure if everyone were to play the game together again that the spirit of those original games could be replicated.

But I told Aaron,  “I’m going to post a few sets anyway because this is such a good memory, and Aimee and Josiah, Michelle and Monty, and Melissa will all love seeing these again. Plus I want to get down this memory in writing, and that’s what my blog is for!”

So. Three or four years ago or so, when some of us were still living in Klamath Falls, Aimee and Josiah would drive down to visit when they had free weekends. They’d stop to pick up Aaron on their way through his college town, and when they’d arrive at our home in the high desert countryside, Michelle and Monty and their little boys would come out to the house to join us. We’d all spend the weekend together eating, visiting, and playing games. It was fun to have everyone there. I’d cook a big dinner, and we’d sit together (little boys, too) at our pine dining table to eat. When dinner was over, and the mess was cleaned up, the gang would sit back down to play round after round of Telephone Pictionary.

I didn’t play. Instead, I would help watch the two little boys and putter around the kitchen fixing treats to put in the middle of the table for the game players. I almost always made a pot of tea or two or three and baked some cookies or biscuits to serve with jam. There would be a fire burning in the woodstove in the corner beside the table, and the whole atmosphere was cosy and convivial. Our house had an open floor plan, and the table was right off the kitchen, so I could see and hear everything that was going on, which was often a lot of hysterical laughter and some good-natured ribbing. This made it fun to be in the kitchen fixing snacks. There’s nothing as nice as having your far-flung family return home for a visit from their various places of residence, and it’s all the more fun when they like each other better than anyone else in the world and have such a great time together. We’re blessed that our girls married such wonderful men who we all love like crazy. They fit right in with the rest of the gang.

Here are the directions for playing the game (I hope they make sense because I wrote them quickly), and below the directions are several of the sets of papers I found in our box. I think Aaron was surprised when I told him I would post the “Zombie” set because it’s kinda gross, but, well, the truth of the matter is, my kids get this way sometimes. Or I should say that the men in the family do! You might as well know the truth about us, huh?

How To Play:

1. Cut 8 x 11  inch pieces of paper into 6 index-card size pieces each (split each paper lengthwise in half, and then cut each strip into three pieces).

2. If you have five people playing, each person should start with a stack of five pieces of paper. If you have seven players, each person will have seven papers. (Each person starts with a number of papers equaling the number of players.)

3. When you're ready to start the game, each person should write a sentence or phrase (it can be a famous quote or saying, if you like) that the next person will attempt to draw.

4. When each person has written a saying on the top piece of paper of his stack, he passes his entire stack of papers to the person on his right (or everyone can pass left, just so all papers are being passed the same direction).

5. This person will read the sentence or phrase, move that paper to the bottom of the stack, and, on the top piece of paper, draw his best rendition of  the phrase or sentence he read.

6. When everyone is finished drawing, they pass their entire stack of papers to the right again, and the picture they drew should be on top (no one should look at any of the papers on the bottom of the stack).

7. This person looks at the picture, puts it on the bottom of his stack of papers, and then writes a sentence or phrase describing what he saw.

8. Papers are passed again, and the next person reads the sentence the person before him wrote. Now he will move that sentence or phrase to the bottom of his stack, and on the top (clean) piece of paper, he will attempt to draw a picture depicting those words.

9. Papers are passed again, and the process continues.

10. When the papers have gone all the way around the circle, it's time for everyone to show their stacks, starting with the original sentence and working through to the last picture or sentence. I think it works best if there is an odd number of people because you start with a sentence and end with a sentence, and you can clearly see how it changed during the course of the game.

: : : : :

And here are those card sets. I’ll type the words below them when if I think they’re difficult to read. Sometimes the original sentence didn't change much over the course of the round, but I think the artwork is really fun, so I'm posting one or two of those.

As always, click on photos if you want to see the clever details! I love some of this artwork--for a semi-fast moving game, I think it's pretty great!

: : : : :Set One: : : : :

 : : : : :Set 2: : : : :

(The ninja put cupcakes in the oven and danced
with joy thinking about rainbows and happiness
until he took them out of the oven.)

: : : : :Set 3: : : : :

: : : : :Set 4: : : : :

(The devil stole books from the library, so the man
attacked the librarian with an axe because he had a moral
conviction that all books were the devil.)

: : : :Set 5: This is the questionable set.: : : : :
Read at your own discretion.
(Don't say I didn't warn you.) :-)

(Wow. This is amazing. Like a fire-hose.
But look at that great zombie on the TV!)

(I think this is the most adorable vomit picture
I have ever seen. Good job, Melissa. . . or was it Aimee?! :-)
If you're forced to draw vomit, you might as well
try to make it cute!)

(After watching Frankenstein on TV,
the girl vomited all over the floor.)


  1. Thank you , Susan. I laughed until I cried. Bob came to make sure I was okay. It cheered me up very nicely!

  2. The game sounds hilarious! My teenagers will love it. Those are some pretty good pictionary sketches, you have some talented artists playing!

  3. Hey, I just posted a comment, and it didn't show up. I'll go again really quickly. I wanted to say that I'm glad you both--Laura and Mrs. Fordyce--liked this. I hope your kids enjoy the game as much as mine did, Mrs. Fordyce!

    And, Laura, when Aaron and I were wondering about whether or not anyone would get our humor or why we thought this was so much fun, I told him that it didn't matter because our family would enjoy the post, at least, and "Laura will get it, and she'll like it, too!" So, I'm glad you did! :-)

  4. This is awesome!! Do you put a time limit on each turn? I think we'd need one ~ SOME in my family take FOREVER if we have no time limit... I think my favorite was the ninja baker set. And I love the squished shut eyes of the 1st vomiter ~ your kids are amazing artists!
    Thanks for sharing this & for setting up the scene so well ~ I would have enjoyed baking cookies with you and listening to all that fun

  5. sorry to post another comment, but the thought just struck me - I would never have saved those! Because our house is so tiny, I am in the habit of trashing pretty much everything I can. When we moved, I made the kids pare down their 'special things' to ONE box. I'm kinda feeling like maybe I've over-done it (and still our house is always a mess. sigh)

  6. Susan,
    This is one of our favorite games to play when everyone's around! We call it Teledraw. We've had many rounds that have brought us laughing to tears! So much fun!

  7. I love this game! We played it with friends for HOURS one New Year's Eve. But I must say, your family's pictures are much better than hours ever were!

  8. LOVE it!!! the game, the drawings, the passing and end results. What a great idea. Cheap too! ;D We'll definitely have to try this. And remember to save the "masterpieces" and evidence of minds at work. Thanks for sharing it. I (really!) laughed out loud too. :D


  9. I must say I was quite sad to see that neither mine nor Monty's drawings made the cut.

  10. Shubes, not every person gets to draw on a round. Due to the alternation, some people have to write instead. Both you and Monty have handwritten rounds in there. Although I must say that I thought Monty had the best drawings of all!

  11. The Momma, I do very selective saving. This game was too much fun, and the drawings were too great not to save. It all fit into a fairly small box. I'm going to, somehow, make a book of these. :-)

    Beth, of *course* you have played this. I am not at all surprised. Too bad you live so far away. . . :-)

    Rebecca, the fun thing is that the bad drawings are as much things as the good ones, huh? :-)

    Judi, I'm guessing you all would really have fun with this. I'm glad you liked these. . :-)

    Michelle and Melissa, you both sound so *serious* about this! :-) Michelle, I thought some of the drawings *were* yours. I can't tell some of you girls' drawings apart! And, yes, Monty's drawings are hilarious.

  12. Such a creative and artistic family you are! Awesome drawings and descriptions. I can just imagine the fun and laughter around the table that evening. Delightful!

  13. Oops. I do have a drawing in there.

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  15. Silvana, thanks. I think the gang is pretty creative, and some of those really great drawings are Josiah's. Aaron thinks Josiah's drawings are the most artistic. . . It really has been a fun game to play! :-)

    I thought so, Michelle! :-)

  16. How cool is this! I love this game. I read it and actually laughed out loud. Thanks for sharing.

  17. Do you mind if I copy this and use it for a game? Each year we host college students for a program called "Dinner with 12 strangers". New students that are just moving here get to have dinner with a local family and get to know others and a family before the school years starts. The college does all the transportation and organization, and I think this would be a cool game to play. I never know what to do with 8-12 college students I don't know. Thank you.

  18. Glad you liked the game, Mrs. Peterson! Go ahead and copy what I wrote. I don't mind. I'm just trying to pass on the game the best I knew how! :-) What a cool thing you do with the college students--love it! :-)

  19. Good stuff! Here it is for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch!